Category Archives: manuscript

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

My Interview at Joseph D Drumheller – The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book…


Link here: https://josephdrumheller.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/five-steps-to-create-a-childrens-book/

The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book  

Rumble's First Scare

  1. The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

  1. What age group are you writing for?
  2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
  3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

  1. Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

  1. You can follow children’s book agents.
  2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
  3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
  4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.

  1. Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

  1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
  2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
  3. Does your publisher offer this service?
  4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

  1. Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

  1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
  2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
  3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
  4. Keep exposition to a minimum
  1. Extra Pages
  2. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
  3. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
  4. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
  5. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

Mandy and Rumble at SC Summerwood

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy@

Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

shelf

Contact:

I can be reached through my blog at www.mandyevebarnett.com, on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/ and through Twitter @mandyevebarnett

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click   is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!

Click crop cover

 

Lost Words – Describing My Easter Mountain Escape…


Jasper Mountains_n

Jasper National Park

apanthropinization                      1880 -1880
withdrawal from human concerns or the human world
His life as a hermit in the woods was characterized by apanthropinization.

desarcinate                                     1656 -1736
to unload; to unburden
She haughtily ordered her butler to desarcinate her baggage from the car.

locupletative                                 1802 -1812
tending to enrich
Your locupletative contributions have helped furnish the new stadium lavishly.

montivagant                                1656 -1658
wandering over hills and mountains
The montivagant hiker crossed the Alps with ease but was stymied by the Andes.

patration                                       1656 -1656
perfection or completion of something
The patration of my dissertation will be an occasion for great merriment.

stagma                                            1681 -1820
any distilled liquor
I will touch neither wine nor stagma, though I do occasionally partake of ale.

More lost words here:
http://phrontistery.info/clw.html

My good friend Linda and I escaped to the mountains for a long weekend over Easter. These words describe our experience to some extent.

We relished the apanthropinization from daily stresses to the Rocky Mountains. The glorious scenery, good company and a splash of stagma enabled us to desarcinate our troubles for a brief respite. Our montivagant and immersion into nature really locupletative our souls. In addition we were able to patration writing projects too. A recharging for our souls and sustenance for our mind and body.

Mediation Circle, Grande Cache

Meditation Circle_n

Chinese Communes…


chinese 2

 

Our idea of communes favors more hippy movement than governmental control, however, that is exactly what happened under the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong’s administration from 1958 to 1983. The People’s commune model was part of the Great Leap Forward, which demanded the mobilization of peasants in huge water projects during the winter slack seasons and thus improving agricultural production. These communes had political, governmental and economic functions and were divided into production teams and brigades.

Made up of a combination of smaller farm collectives, these communes consisted of 4,000 – 5,000 households and in some cases were as large as 20,000 households. Within the communes everything was shared – private cooking was banned and all kitchen furniture, pots, pans, and utensils were contributed to the main communal kitchen for communal dining. The peasants had no private property.

Assignments of household items, private animals, stored grains and other food items were made available for the commune as a whole. Every morning all farming activities were assigned centrally by cadres and commune leaders assigned each member of the commune with a job or task. In some places, money was outlawed. Even when bad weather hit the communal lands in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and famine became widespread the food resources were still being exported to urban areas.

Decades of governmental turmoil had these communes reconstructed, severely oppressed and eventually disbanded.

chinese 1

A Modern Commune…


Lammas – A Pioneering Ecovillage in West Wales

During my research into communes for this year’s blog post project, I have learnt a great deal about the variations of communes, their history and the future prospects of communal living. I was particularly interested in this commune for two reasons, firstly because part of my childhood was spent in Pembrokeshire and secondly because I find the idea of cooperation and sustainability intriguing.

As you will see from the link, there is a lot more to this commune than the old ‘hippy love’ expectation. Not only organic produce but natural crafts, workshops and more. Lammas is a modern example of an old concept and is successful.

http://lammas.org.uk/

house 1

house 2

inside house

Courses

Interview with Claire Luana…


Headshot Claire
What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband and I were on our honeymoon and talking a lot about life. He asked me what I would do if I could do anything. I realized the answer was to write a novel. So I figured I should just go ahead and do it!

Tell us about your book!
In the country of Kita, the sentence for being a female sorceress—a moonburner—is death. So when the main character, Kai, is exposed as a moonburner, she is forced to escape to neighboring Miina, where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors. But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all burners. After uncovering an unexpected secret in her own heritage, Kai realizes that she may be the one person able to bring peace to the two warring countries.

How did you come up with the title?
I worked for several months outlining a trilogy of novels. But every time I started writing, I got stuck. I had another idea hanging around in the back of my mind and I decided to give into it. Within about 10 minutes I had a one-page outline of the plot and the title for Moonburner, my first novel. I think it’s really true what they say about the muse striking you!

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Quitsu! My protagonist, Kai, has an animal companion, a magical talking fox named Quitsu. He was definitely the comic relief, and I had a lot of fun writing his snarky comments.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That the world isn’t black or white, but shades of grey. All the “good guys” aren’t good in the book, and all the “bad guys” aren’t bad. If Kai gave in to stereotypes and prejudices, she would have missed out on some of her greatest friends and allies. You have to gauge each person individually based on their character and actions, not because they belong in a particular gender, race, or political group.

What makes Moonburner different?
I think Moonburner is unique because the moral of the story isn’t good triumphing over evil. It’s about mutually assured destruction…if you can’t find a way to work together and coexist, you will both perish.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the creativity of it. I’m a practicing lawyer for my full time job, and so I spend a lot of time being analytical and precise. I love the freedom to let my mind take me where it takes me with writing. I thought because I am such a type–A planner that I would be a “plotter,” making detailed outlines of every part of my book before I wrote a word. I found that in fact, I do much better when I let my creativity take the wheel. That has been a very refreshing discovery.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
I have always loved to read and write fantasy. There is something about being taken away to another magical world that provides just the right escape I am looking for with a novel. My goal with Moonburner was to write a novel that I would enjoy reading.

What is the current status of Moonburner?
I am seeking a publisher for Moonburner currently, so you can’t read it quite yet! But it will either be picked up for publication or I will self-publish in 2016. I am also about 90% done with the first draft of Sunburner, the sequel.
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
Come see me at claireluana.com. That’s where you’ll find my blog, as well as updates about Moonburner and Sunburner.

Twitter @clairedeluana

 

Keeping Your Uniqueness in Your Writing…


writer worrying

When we start out on our writing journey’s we are plagued with self-doubt.

Is my story exceptional?

Have I learned the ‘rules’ well enough?

Will anyone read it?

It is easy to compare ourselves to the ‘greats’ (whichever genre great you follow) trying to glimpse within their writing the ‘how they do it’.

Taking advantage of other writers interviews, writing courses and the knowledge of members of your writing support group are all ways to increase your skill. If you have a particular genre you wish to excel in, then read as many novels in that genre as you can. Dissect the story, its characters and how the story arc is constructed. Notice the details, the amount of dialogue compared to exposition, how the characters are introduced and how they ‘change’. These are essential lessons to help you excel in your craft. Also, books on writing are a good investment but chose carefully to ensure they are complimentary to your style.

write-on-tone

The main focus after learning your basic skills should be your uniqueness, what is known as your ‘voice’. We are all distinctive beings, even twins have their own personalities, likes, and dislikes. We have at our fingertips an unlimited amount of personality types to choose from or create.

How you tell your story makes it special as no one else will write it exactly the same way. The more you write and practice, the more you will find your ‘voice’ forming, it will become distinctive and your readers will know, without looking at your name that they are reading your words. It is your combination of structure, character building, and language that creates your voice.

When did you realize your ‘voice’ was forming?

How did you find out?

 

 

Preparing My Blog for 2016…


Blogging

For those of you that follow me, you will remember I plan my blog schedule during December for the following year. I decide on posting frequency, and the subjects or themes I will cover. In the past I have used a word of the day (everyday) to come up with a blog post utilizing that word, as well as writing topics, author interviews and I even serialized a children’s story, Clickety Click. All these variety of forms have given me the ability to connect with wonderful writers from around the world. I am most thankful for everyone that has dropped by, commented and reblogged,  it makes all the effort so worth while.

In 2015, my writing life continued to grow . Through attending a wealth of events from book fairs to author readings and more, not only did I sell my books but also met readers, which is always fun. My aim for 2015 was to edit and revise two manuscripts – a western romance, Willow Tree Tears and a suspense, The Giving Thief. Some may say that was unrealistic, others that I am mad! However, I accomplished both and the romance was submitted to Harlequin (waiting somewhat impatiently for a call) and the suspense is with beta readers. I also entered a contest for a Steampunk story, which was a new genre for me. The story was subsequently contracted for an anthology. The Toymaker will appear at some point and I will be linking to it for everyone to enjoy. Another smaller project did surface during the year, another idea for a children’s book, which is in note form at present.

I will like to invite my followers to suggest topics, ideas and format for 2016 on my blog. So make sure to comment below.

Thank you.

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A Writers Conundrum – Finding Time to Write..


To have inspiration for our writing we must observe life, to avoid our family and friends abandoning us we need to engage with them, to pay the bills we must usually work a day job, to maintain our word count or deadline we must organize writing time. So the question is, how can we juggle all of these demands on our time with failing at each one?

Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between these is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap, a teenager ‘must’ be taken to a friends house, your husband needs help with a project or dare I say it your boss needs something from you? We inevitably crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later? We may scramble to jot down that idea, phrase or even paragraph before being torn away. I have looked to other writers, famous or not, and tried to delve beyond the obvious and gleam an insight into their methods of finding time. There are numerous hints and tips populating the internet but in the end you know your life and its limitations best. You may get up extra early, stay awake until the breaking dawn or cram a few paragraphs into your lunch hour – whatever works for you and your writing – is the right way to go. The trick is how to organize your time productively.

How do you schedule your writing?

What time of day works best for you?

I have to admit my writing is not scheduled. I take advantage of any time I’m left alone and once absorbed find it difficult to let go. Weekend mornings are good for me as I get up early and have several hours while my daughter is still sleeping and my husband is playing about in the garage! Other times I can use are the evenings when I arrive early for writing group meetings and write until the allotted time. Other ‘escape’ opportunities do arise and I always take advantage of them: a cancelled appointment, the house to myself or the glory of a  writing retreat! Obviously, I dream of the day I can shut myself away with my laptop and not have to answer to anyone…it will happen I just need to be patient.

With my freelance work increasingly demanding more of my time, I have to split my writing with that of clients. Maybe I am wrong but I tend to complete a client’s work prior to my own. Having a deadline for a paying job and completing it is, to my mind, more important and vital: a) for repeated work b) for remuneration. That is not to say I believe my own writing is secondary, far from it. Within my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am fortunate to have other writers who engage in an annual novel workshop. At the beginning of the year, when several of us have participated in NaNoWriMo and others are ready to share their first draft, we meet every month until June (sometimes longer). We section our novels and email them to each other, then edit and comment on the narrative. Then at month’s end email our editing and meet to discuss the stories. It is beta reading within a ‘safe’ environment if you will. This mutual assistance enables me to edit my current manuscript with the views of several other authors and a ‘faster’ editing process too.

Care to share your writing schedule or tips you found useful?

My writing area expands a little each year! Where do you write?

New Writing DEsk 003new writing deskPicture Wall